Murder of Betty Shanks

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Betty Shanks
Betty Shanks in September 1952
Betty Shanks in September 1952
Born c. 1930
Died 19 September 1952 (aged 22)
Grange, Queensland, Australia

The Murder of Betty Shanks is one of the oldest and most notorious unsolved murder cases[1] in Queensland, Australia.

Overview[edit]

On the night of 19 September 1952, 22-year-old Betty Shanks got off a tram at Days Road Terminus in Grange, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, and started her short walk home. Her violently beaten body was found in the garden of a house on the corner of Carberry and Thomas Streets the next morning at 5.35am,[2] by a policeman who lived nearby.[3] At the time it was Queensland's biggest criminal investigation ever,[4] and as of 2010 a reward of A$50,000 is still current.[2]

Investigation[edit]

An attack by a sex offender was considered very early in the investigation.[5] Another theory is that the murderer attacked the wrong woman, and was actually interested in a doctor's receptionist - who also walked home down the same street at the same time, and had keys to the surgery which contained drugs.[4] A number of people have confessed over the years, however all have proved to be false.[6]

Related works[edit]

Books[edit]

Several books have been written about the murder and the authors have outlined who they believe the murderer to be. These works include:

  • Who Killed Betty Shanks? (2006 (revised in 2012), author: Ken Blanch) Blanch suggested that Shanks was killed by a soldier.[7][8][9]
  • I Know Who Killed Betty Shanks (2014, author: Ted Duhs) Duhs theorized that Eric Sterry killed Shanks.[9][10]
  • The Thomas St Affair (2016, author: Lyle Reed) Reed proposed that Shanks was killed by a police officer riding a motorbike. The author did not reveal the killer's name in interviews prior to the book being published but did indicate he was a member of his family.[11][12]

Film[edit]

  • The Wilston Murder: The story of Betty Shanks (2012) This documentary was produced and directed by student filmmakers Maya Weidner and Becky Newman, respectively, as a university project. The women believed the story was one that could resonate with a modern-day audience. Newman recalled learning about the murder at a young age, as her family was interested in history and had read Ken Blanch's book, Who Killed Betty Shanks? but believed the story was largely forgotten among her generation.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "History Mystery: Betty Shanks" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Murder of Betty Thomson Shanks $50,000 Reward". Archived from the original on 15 September 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Shanks Murder suspect traced". The Courier-Mail. 3 April 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "New light on Brisbane's most infamous murder case - 730 Report". 3 April 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "Police search extends in Brisbane Crime". The Canberra Times. 22 September 1952. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "Shanks Murder suspect traced". The Courier-Mail. 3 April 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Moore, Tony (21 September 2012). "Betty Shanks: An enduring mystery". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  8. ^ Foley, Peter (29 September 2012). "Doctor cleared of Shanks murder". The Queensland Times. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Pierce, Jeremy (16 October 2014). "The 1952 unsolved murder of Betty Shanks in Brisbane sparks battle between publishers of rival books". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  10. ^ "FROM the VAULT - The unsolved murder of Betty Shanks". QPS Media. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  11. ^ Gould, Joel (6 December 2015). "Betty Shanks murder cracked by Ipswich author". The Queensland Times. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  12. ^ Gould, Joel (12 June 2016). "Author to name former copy as Betty Shanks' killer". The Queensland Times. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  13. ^ Sim, Jack (14 September 2012). "Students Recreate Crime: Betty Shanks - The Wilston Murder; Brisbane Crime Inspires Local Filmakers...".